How Technology Can Ease the Demands of Chef-Owners

Patrons at Tanya Holland’s restaurant, Brown Sugar Kitchen, have been known to leave love letters to her Creole shrimp and grits. In January, New York Times Food Editor Pete Wells openly shared his regret that Holland’s restaurant was not around the corner from his house. “WOW is Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, CA a good restaurant,” said Wells.

Her restaurants have received a long list of awards, including the “Bib Gourmand” rating from the Michelin Guide and “Best New Barbecue in the USA” from Food and Wine Magazine. More than a chef, author, or restaurateur Holland sees herself as an entrepreneur.

“What I really like about the business is the entrepreneurial aspect,” said Holland, who opened Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland in 2008. “I really like building businesses and creating things.”

Like any chef-owner that strives to make a difference with their restaurant, Holland must strike a balance between the demands of being a chef and the obligations as a business owner.

While she is not an avid techie per se, Holland does implement a few technological solutions that are both user-friendly and provide efficiency for the myriad of business functions. Any solutions prevalent in the industry today marrying these components will likely catch the attention of chef-owners.

Holland has the necessary point of sale system and basic programs for organization, but is becoming very interested in any solution that increases efficiency.

“My kitchen manager is on [BlueCart] doing the ordering. The hard part about being a chef is that you don’t sit at a computer. Even though we have smartphones, it can be challenging to find that space and time,” Holland said, which made her interested in BlueCart, to begin with.

As someone who is keen on sustainability, Holland is combining her efforts with BlueCart’s technology to cut back on even more waste and enhance efficiency.

Continue to follow along as Tim Ma, Tanya Holland, and Jehangir Mehta joins forces with us under the Zero Kitchen Waste Program.

Be sure to check out the full interview in May 2017's Edition of Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine. Article written by Founder and Publisher Shawn Wenner.